By 2033, the UK government plan a new high-speed rail line that will connect London with Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds. The expectations for the High Speed Two – HS2 – link has already had a huge effect, driving up investment and increasing property prices within the major cities along the planned route.
Manchester – London in 67 minutes
Travel from major northern UK cities to London will be easier than ever with HS2 in place. Birmingham to London will be a 49-minute journey, and a train from Manchester to London via HS2 will be an hour faster than it is now; down 67 minutes from 127. This is many commuter’s dream, meaning that many will look to live in property which is walking distance from the HS2 terminal in city centres. The increased demand will lead to house price increases, and many investors are putting their money in off-plan property in cities like Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool to capitalise on this in the future.
A good example model for how enhanced transport links can increase house prices is the Crossrail in London and outer London areas. In London and the South East, the increase in value of residential property close to Crossrail stations, since that project was confirmed in 2007, ranges from 36-60%. Further increases are likely – values tend to get another boost once operations begin – but already smart money is turning to the High Speed Two rail link (HS2), especially now that the route from Birmingham to both Manchester and Leeds has been confirmed.
Up to 400 kilometers per hour
The initial plan is for a new railway line between London and the West Midlands carrying 400 meter long trains with as many as 1.100 seats per train. The line would carry trains capable of reaching speeds of up to 250 mph and would run as often as 14 times per hour in each direction. This would be followed by a V-shaped second phase taking services from Birmingham to Manchester and Leeds. The project would triple the capacity of trains across the entire route.
One of the original arguments for the HS2 scheme was to bridge the gap that sits between the north and south, to bring jobs, homes, investments and economic growth to cities other than London. The Northern Powerhouse and, in particular, Manchester became one of the key focal points for the Northern resurgence, along with other cities such as Leeds, Liverpool, Sheffield and Newcastle.
The program originally began under the Labour government in 2009. It is the second High Speed rail project after High Speed 1, which links St Pancras International and the Channel Tunnel, and opened in 2003.
HS2 is to connect eight of the UK’s largest cities; Birmingham, London, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Edinburgh and Glasgow, and will serve 25 stations along the way. It is expected that 15,000 people will be able to travel between London, Birmingham, Manchester and Leeds every hour.
Construction is to be carried out in three phases:
- Phase 1: Connects London to the West Midlands
- Phase 2a: Connects the West Midlands and Crewe
- Phase 2b: Connects Crewe to Manchester and the West Midlands to York and Leeds.